Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Iberia, LA to Lake Charles LA - Feb 22

97 miles in 7:06. The day dawned very overcast, and stayed that way. Not even a hint of sun. The temperature was supposed to be in the 60's, but as I have said before, 60 and sunny is nice, 60's and cloudy is not so nice. I wore several layers, worked up a sweat, but couldn't pull up my sleeves, and all exposed skin plus my feet would chill easily. I think the humidity puts a chill through my bones, even as I work up a sweat. By the end of the day, when I pulled up to the Rv, I was shivering, and I continued to be cold for hours, even under the covers in bed.

The trip itself was an education, very unique, and the day ended with many unanswered questions. I rode through miles and miles of rice growing ponds in various states of preparation. They were approximately one to two acre ponds, with dirt walls and drains controlling the depth of the water. They looked to be about a foot deep when they had water in them. Some were totally dry, with a smooth silty bottom. The soil here, in the Mississippi delta is a beautiful, rich, dark color. Some of the ponds had vegetation in them, some did not. Some of the ponds had wire trap looking things scattered throughout them, with red or white pieces of tubing on top. I have know idea what they were. I've never seen crawfish farms, and I thought maybe that's what the wire things were for. I have no idea. I'm gonna research it on the Internet and post if I learn anything. There were also the craziest boats that were for navigating in these ponds. They had a metal wheel on the back of the boat with tractor treads, which is lowered and digs in the mud in the bottom of the pond for traction. What they are doing in the ponds I don't know.

This is one of the rice fields with the fancy boat

Close up of the boat - Pam saw the boat cruising thru the water and then driving up onto the land!

 I saw one sign that said something about rice and soy beans. There were many metal grain silos that could have been for grain. Another question came about when I saw these mud nests, or mounds in yards. What type of critter built them. The first thing I thought of was all the gophers in the movie Caddie Shack. These people need Bill Murray down here as an exterminator...or not.

Unknown mounds

Added my foot to show the size of the mounds

I spent the day on LA 14, which had many different personalities. There were no shoulders anywhere. Fortunately, there was little traffic. I will say that this has to be the friendliest area I have ever been in. I must have had 100 people wave or acknowledge me as I rode by. I've never experienced anything even close to the percentage of passing cars responding positively to my being on the road. One guy even pulled up along side of me just to chat and say hi. People of all ages, genders, waving, flashing headlights, and not one middle finger! The drivers also were very, maybe even overly, safety conscious. No one squeezed by. People went completely over in the other lane to get around me. People slowed and would not pass if there was anyone coming the other direction. No one came up on me from behind and got too close. No one punched their gas pedal to get around me after slowing. No exceptions! Unbelievable! I better not get used to that.
I went off the main road and passed thru several small towns. The places were pretty nice, old fashioned downtowns, mom and pop places with no stores bigger than a Dollar General. One town, Gueydan, claimed to be the duck capital of the world.
Sorry we missed the duck festival!!

There were ducks and egrets and who knows what other kind of birds on each one of the ponds that I mentioned above. I noticed, just like the cattle in Florida, they all spooked for the guy on the bike, even though cars and trucks didn't bother them. Every duck, and there were thousands or tens of thousands, flew as I rode by. I saw more egrets in one day than I've seen in my life (and there were plenty in the Everglades). The ducks outnumbered the egrets tenfold, and there seemed to be many types, none of which I recognized from the ponds at home. I also saw between a dozen and two dozen hawks. I'm not sure what type, but they were always on a telephone pole, scoping for a meal. I saw one flying with a snake in its claws. What a day.
The last thing I want to talk about is the different personalities of LA 14. Don't ride a bike, or a motor home(according to Pam) on LA 14. That road opened a can of whoop-ass on mine. The jarring road, especially in Vermilion Parish, where I spent most my ride, absolutely wore me out. The bike didn't roll, it bounced down the road. Every impact went through my legs, wrists, arms, back, and neck. The last third of the trip wasn't as bad, but it was too late by then. The damage was done. I was totally demolished by the time I finished. The road damage and the chill made it one of the most difficult days I've ridden, and I didn't even mention the wind, which was really pretty much of a non factor, even though it was always present. LA 14 was a winding road, so the wind was hitting me from different directions all the time. It was the best of rides, because of all I have mentioned, and it was the worst of rides because of the toll it took. I thought the motor home was going to fall to pieces, it was shaking and rattling so badly!  After I parked for the day, I had to be very careful when opening cabinets because things were just falling out!  

And this wasn't a really bad section!!!!

We stayed in a Walmart parking lot in Lake Charles, and finished our day at a cool restaurant called Steamboat Bills. It was a place like Coleman's in Wheeling, where you had to get in one of two different lines, depending on what you were eating. Everyone, once again, was in the steam line, getting steamed crawfish in huge amounts, with steamed corn on the cob and potatoes. These people really LOVE their crawfish! We got in the other line and had catfish and shrimp. We just can't quite sit down to five pounds of crawfish like everyone else. We also still have to try étouffée, boudin (pronounced boo-dan) and cracklins. I was in bed by 8:30 and got 12 hours or more of sleep.

Little town I went thru

1 comment:

  1. Those mud mounds are built by crayfish(crawfish crawdads) That is why they call them "mud bugs". When that area floods they swim out of the creeks and search through the mud and silt for their food. Because the flood water is standing their digging leaves those mud mounds when it dries up. In creeks the movement of the water knocks the mud they stack down so you never see the mounds in the creek beds. Flooding in LA is not all damage and destruction if you know how to live off that kind of land it is a preclude to a feast. If the mud bugs eat good then you eat good. They are mighty tasty!